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Jerry Richardson
S.C. Athletic Hall of Fame

Jerry Richardson

The owner/founder of the Carolina Panthers. A member of the Baltimore Colts World Championship team in 1959. A member of both the North Carolina and South Carolina Sports Halls of Fame. An all-America player as a collegian. The driving force behind the construction of Ericsson Stadium. It is an athletic and sports business legacy that has placed Jerry Richardson into a preeminent place in Carolinas history. It also is a success story that continues. Richardson has emerged as one of the leaders in the National Football League, chairing the prestigious Stadium Committee and serving on numerous other committees. With his assistance, the NFL has experienced a renaissance of stadium building that includes 12 new facilities since 1994. He continues to devote time, energy, and focus to his foremost athletic passion the Carolina Panthers. That dedication to the Panthers is most understandable. The Panthers embody the emotions of a lifetime as a native Carolinian, former athlete and graduate of a Carolina school, and alumnus of the NFL. Born in Spring Hope, NC, Richardson graduated from Fayetteville High School and attended Wofford College, where he set receiving and scoring records that still rank among the schools leaders four decades later. During his senior season in 1958, Richardson made 33 of the teams 55 receptions and scored nine touchdowns to lead the state of South Carolina in scoring for the third consecutive year. The performance caught the attention of the Baltimore Colts, who drafted Richardson in the 13th round of the 1958 NFL Draft. Starting as one of 19 receivers in training camp, he joined Lenny Moore and Raymond Berry as the receivers in the regular season and capped his remarkable rookie journey with a touchdown reception from Johnny Unitas in the Colts 1959 NFL Championship Game victory over the New York Giants. He used his playoff check of $3,500 to begin a successful 30-year career in business, but football remained a passion and love that he never lost. On July 16, 1987, Richardson began running the longest and best route of his career when he and his son Mark along with NationsBank Chairman Hugh McColl, Jr., attorney Richard Thigpen, Jr., and John Lewis of Arthur Andersen met in Charlotte to discuss the possibility of entering a bid for an NFL franchise. With the marketing genius of Max Muhleman attracting nationwide attention, the ownership group overcame repeated hurdles to obtain the franchise almost six-and-a-half years later. On October 26, 1993, Richardson became the first former NFL player since George Halas to become an owner when the Carolinas were unanimously awarded the NFLs 29th franchise. Richardsons ability to build consensus did not go unnoticed by League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who quickly placed him on strategic committees. Jerry wins peoples confidence because hes forthright, hes intelligent, and hes able to suggest win-win solutions over conflict, says Tagliabue. That approach has resulted in a stadium that remains a model nearly a decade after opening and helped navigate the Panthers through realignment into possibly the NFLs best division the NFC South. A lifelong resident of the Carolinas, Richardson and his wife, Rosalind Sallenger Richardson, have two sons, Jon and Mark, and a daughter, Ashley Richardson Allen, of Charlotte. The Richardsons have nine grandchildren and live in Charlotte.

South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame